A self-guided itinerary for those wishing to see the spectacular and diverse range of scenery in New Zealand’s North Island.
The North Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most historical and cultural sites, and the relaxed comforts of our specifically chosen luxury bed and breakfasts will ensure that your Best of New Zealand North Island Tour will be a holiday of a lifetime.
Self-Drive package for two includes:
The following information is a highlights view of what is possible.
We are able to customise the program to make it the perfect vacation for you.
The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful areas: the 150 islands in the sparkling Bay give the region its name. It is also of enormous historical significance as the site of New Zealand’s first permanent English settlement, the cradle of European colonisation. It was here that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the New Zealand Maori and the British Crown in 1840.
Enjoy the beautiful little Victorian town of Russell, or Kororareka as it was known in the early days of European settlement was New Zealand’s first capital. Christ Church, the oldest surviving church in New Zealand and Pompallier House, built to house the printing works for the Roman Catholic mission founded by the French missionary Bishop Pompallier in 1841 are both worthy of a visit.
Visit Kemp House and The Stone Store at Kerikeri, the oldest store in New Zealand.
Take the opportunity to visit the Treaty House; at Waitangi, originally known as the Residency, the Treaty House is one of New Zealand’s oldest surviving buildings. Nearby are The Whare Runanga (Meeting House) and Marae (grassed area in front). Maori history is recorded in these magnificent buildings, a reminder of the past as well as a focal point for the present. At Hobson’s Beach there is the canoe house, the 35 metres long war canoe carried 80 warriors and is launched each year for the ceremonial commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 06.
Enjoy a cruise aboard a high-speed luxury catamaran cruising through the game fishing waters to the Cape Brett Lighthouse. Next, is Motukokako Island and the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’; the excitement grows as you make a passage through the Hole and on to the majestic Grand Cathedral Cave. On the return journey you meander through the inner islands. View sandy beaches, beautiful bays and marine wildlife as your skipper gives an informative commentary. An island stopover is included at the beautiful Urupukapuka Island where you can enjoy one of the scenic walks.
Auckland—fondly called the ‘City of Sails’, nestled around the shores of two expansive harbours it is one of the world’s most exciting waterside cities. The sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour is the city’s playground – here the coastline is peppered with sandy beaches and dotted with numerous islands. West of Auckland there are extensive walking trails amongst native ferns and tall Kauri trees and the rugged, windswept beaches of Karekare, Piha and Muriwai.
We recommend the following activities during your stay in Auckland:
The Coromandel is one of those special places, breathtaking and unforgettable.
Its coastline, framed with the native Pohutukawa trees on the western side and white sandy beaches on the eastern, with a backdrop of a rugged, forest-clad mountain range running along the peninsula’s spine.
Travel along the Pacific coast with panoramic views of the offshore islands and stroll along one of the many glorious white sandy beaches for which the Coromandel Peninsula is renowned. Visit Hotwater Beach and see the boiling water bubbling out of the sand (tide dependant). You can hike into majestic Cathedral Cove – sheer peace and tranquillity – if you do not wish to take the hike, enjoy an hour’s boat trip aboard the Hahei Explorer. Learn about the Maori medicines and foods of the forests, visit a private bush reserve that has a majestic Kauri tree approximately 500 years old.
Rotorua is renowned as New Zealand’s heart of Maori culture and is at the centre of the country’s thermal and volcanic activity of geysers, boiling mud pools and spectacular and interesting landforms.
We suggest the following optional activities in and around Rotorua:
In Hawkes Bay the sparkling Pacific Ocean forms a stunning backdrop to internationally renowned vineyards that produce award-winning wines. Hawkes Bay wineries are among the oldest in New Zealand and have a proud tradition.
In 1931 a two and a half-minute earthquake hit the region, destroying most of Napier’s inner city. The majority of rebuilding that followed adopted the Art Deco style. As a result, Napier features a large concentration of working Art Deco buildings and is regarded as an ‘Art Deco City’.
We suggest the following optional activities in and around Hawkes Bay:
The Martinborough Wine Village is a must for the wine lover. It differs from New Zealand’s other wine regions because it has mainly small boutique wineries clustered around a quaint colonial farming village. Martinborough wines are consistently winning international awards for both red and white wines but the success of reds, particularly the Pinot Noir variety, has attracted the most attention. This afternoon we suggest visiting Martinborough, famous for its award-winning Pinot Noir. Take a stroll around Martinborough Village; visit the Martinborough Wine Centre with its extensive cellar and tasting of local wines. Leading wineries such at Ata Rangi, Martinborough Vineyard and Palliser Estate are all within easy walking distance of the Village.
Take a stroll around the Martinborough Village; visit the Martinborough Wine Centre with its extensive cellar and tasting of local wines. Leading wineries such as Ata Rangi, Martinborough Vineyard and Palliser Estate are all within easy walking distance of the Village.
Wellington, New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital city, is characterised by the surrounding dramatic steep hills and spectacular harbour. Widely held to be New Zealand’s Cultural Capital, Wellington is a stronghold for the arts and home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Te Papa, WellingtonTake the opportunity of visiting the jewel of Wellington’s attractions – Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, taking pride of place on the majestic Wellington waterfront, Te Papa celebrates the stories of New Zealand in an informative yet uniquely fun and interactive way.
Newly constructed bed and breakfast in our comfortable home completed September 2005. Set on the hill in a secluded sunny north facing position, overlooking central Paihia and the immediate Bay.
The Sebel Suites Auckland combines suite-style accommodation with personalized hotel services, providing both flexibility and value.
Poets Corner Lodge, six kilometres from the historical gold mining town of Waihi, is located high on a ridge, giving expansive coastal views to the Pacific Ocean. This contemporary lodge is ideally set up for single-party group bookings and as a base for exploring the Coromandel, Rotorua and Bay of Plenty.
The Springs was purpose built in 1998. The design is that of a 1930’s New Zealand bungalow ensuring the property complemented the already established neighbourhood. The setting is a simple, yet elegant garden of white Iceberg roses and sasanqua camellias evoking a sense of restful contentment.
Cardoness Lodge is situated on the edge of the Gimblett Gravel/Ngatarawa Triangle. Close to five world renowned wineries and within easy reach of Hawke’s Bay/Bridge Pa, Hastings, Napier and Cape Kidnappers golf courses. We offer luxury accommodation, privacy and a friendly haven in which to unwind and enjoy this spectacular, yet unspoiled area.
Contemporary and classic Parehua is set in world-class Wairarapa wine region just a few minutes walk of the charming historic Martinborough wine village, New Zealand. Enjoy wine and food escapes, celebrations, weddings, honeymoons and corporate entertaining and retreats.